By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

The Warehouse Living Arts Center (WLAC) premiered its latest children’s play this week” Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Kids. Based on the animated family film, the production doesn’t quite showcase 101 of its titular protagonists to fit on stage at once, but with all the show’s lively stage-spanning musical antics, one won’t have the time to count the puppies.

As with the animated film (based on the 1956 children’s novel by Dodie Smith), Roger and Anita Radcliffe live in a small London flat with their two dogs, Pongo and Perdita, and their litter of dalmatian puppies. When Cruella de Vil, the couple’s eccentric and villainous neighbor, decides she wants to “adopt” the puppies (read: make them into a fur coat), a diabolical scheme is hatched met with an equally daring rescue plan.

Photos courtesy of the WLAC and JM Williams Photography.

Directed by Carol Jones, the large-scale cast includes Antonio Aguilar as Roger, Arabel Williams as Anita, Daleigh White as Nanny, Lorelai Stampes as Perdita, Evan Perry as Pongo, and Janie Plemons as Cruella de Vil. There’s also the large casting of children portraying the numerous kidnapped puppies and animals involved in the rescue attempt, as well as the cast of humans that help or hinder the rescue.

Janie Plemons as Cruella de Vil, with Rhiannon Rustin and Lauren Stewart as her henchman.
– Photos courtesy of the WLAC and JM Wiliams Photography

At a brisk 30-minutes long with no intermission, the production is light and easily accessible. Numerous songs and dances make up the production, and a stage full of dancing puppies gives a sense of the delightful chaos of the 1961 film, with Plemon’s Cruella being the ringleader. Of course, audiences will be humming the villain song “Cruella de Vil” long after the show is over.

The cast of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS. – Photo by Guy Chapman

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS is fast, fun, and family-friendly. The show manages its large cast well, and makes for an enjoyable evening of entertainment well worth the admission. Tickets available by calling 903.872.5421 or online at www.theWLAC.com. The show runs from April 7 to April 15. See website for more details.

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